Environmental Environmental

Environmental monitoring

Photonics has numerous applications in environmental science and monitoring. Here are some ways photonics is used in environmental applications:

  • Drone surveying - See our InGaAs image sensors and InGaAs image sensor modules. 
  • Onsite soil measurement: See our NIR spectrometer and BT-CCD for LIBS. 
  • Onsite water analysis: See our Xe flash lamp and UV mini-spectrometer.
  • Onsite gas analysis: See our high-power mid-infrared LEDs, and high-sensitivity InAsSb detectors. 
  • Algae analysis: See our light sources and detector modules. 
  • Plastic recycling: See our dual energy X-ray line scan camera, InGaAs area image sensors, FT-NIR spectrometer, and Raman spectrometer with built-in CMOS image sensor and laser.

In summary, photonics is used in a variety of environmental applications, from monitoring water quality and tracking greenhouse gas emissions to developing solar energy technology and mapping land use. Its ability to measure light absorption and scattering allows for highly accurate and detailed monitoring of the environment.


Insitu inspection is becoming an increasingly important trend across many industries, including water safety and quality monitoring. Measuring and recording the chemical composition of water ensures the quality of the water used in farmland, enables the measurement of waste entering our water sources, and facilitates the reporting required to meet government water safety and waste regulations. UV-VIS spectrometers are among the few measurement techniques that can record the chemical composition of water insitu. Hamamatsu’s high-sensitivity spectrometers and accompanying light sources can identify organic molecules that exhibit strong absorption in the UV range, measure dissolved total nitrogen and phosphorus, and more.  


Hamamatsu product lines for environmental monitoring and analysis.

Insitu and point-of-contact measurements are also necessary for gas analysis, which is made possible by utilizing the mid-infrared (MIR) region of light. Traditional silicon- and InGaAs-based detectors have no sensitivity in the MIR regions of light, and fail to utilize the “fingerprint” regions of the MIR spectrum. The MIR region contains specific absorption bands for many gases of high interest, such as CH4, CO2, NOx, SOx, and NH3. InAsSb, a type of compound semiconductor, enables the detection of MIR light while boasting high sensitivity and long lifetime, and meeting RoHS compliance. Absorption-based noncontact gas analyzers using an InAsSb compound semiconductor are used across many different fields, including environmental monitoring, process control, energy, and healthcare. 

Water quality inspection

Water quality inspection

Several light-based methods can be used to inspect and measure water quality.

 Gas Analysis

Gas analysis

IR detectors for portable instruments as well as high-performance analytical equipment.

Gas analysis using IR light sources

Gas analysis using infrared (IR) light sources

Choices ranging from specialized semiconductor lasers to surface-mount LEDs.

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